George Graham

Who is Keeping America at War?

I was stunned to learn from NBC’s Richard Engel on Rachel Maddow’s TV show last night that the United States is closing a deal that will keep thousands of American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely and keep billions of American dollars flowing to the drug lords who rule that God forsaken country.

I couldn’t believe that President Obama would agree to such a travesty. So I checked the news this morning for confirmation of this bizarre story.

Not a word in Yahoo. Nothing in my emails. Google turned up an AP report, but the AP version made the deal sound like a positive development, not the horror that I think it really is.

Am I alone in my shock and despair?

Am I some kind of conspiracy nut to see the mighty hand of the military-industrial complex pulling the strings here? And – even more outlandish – to surmise that the troops in Afghanistan might actually be there to protect the international drug trade?

Am I paranoid to wonder whether the CIA might be involved?

I am not making this stuff up. But I admit it’s second-hand. I have no evidence to support my suspicions. Tell me the reports I’ve read are wrong. I want to believe you.

But don’t expect me to believe that the American government is sending troops to Afghanistan to keep Americans safe.

Sure, al Qaida did find a haven there, and the terrorists did foment attacks on Americans, including the terrible slaughter of Nine-Eleven.

But al Qaida has long since moved to other failed states and Osama bin Laden is dead.

The war in Afghanistan looks to me like a power struggle between tribal factions – probably rival drug cartels. Why on earth are young American men and women being killed and maimed in such a war?

The real “war on terror” has moved to various and sundry parts of the world, Pakistan for example. And it is being fought by drones not American troops.

I am told that if America abandons Afghanistan, it will become a  “failed state” and al Qaida will return. But if it is so important to prevent terrorists from returning to Afghanistan, why not flood other failed states with American troops – states like Somalia, Algeria and Yemen – where al Qaida now operates? Then when the al Qaida terrorists move on to other havens, must America find more troops and more billions to follow them?

Does that sound like a sustainable policy to you?

So what is the policy behind the never-ending support of the corrupt Afghan regime? Why does the American political establishment tolerate the disappearance of pallets laden with American money, allegedly shipped out of Afghanistan to personal bank accounts in other parts of the world? Why do the American people accept the sacrifice of their sons and daughters in such a cause?

Has anyone considered the possibility that bombarding failed states with food instead of drones might do more to stem the spread of terrorism?

Click for Engel’s report.

Click for the AP version.

Click for allegations of CIA involvement in drugs.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for